What do we want from a chess tournament in London? Big prizes, exciting format, proper sponsorship, an attractive venue, media-savvy website - all the kinds of things that might excite players & intrigue outsiders?
Well then, how about Twenty Seconds Chess: a one-day speed event with a first prize of two thousands pounds, consisting of group stages followed by a knockout, sponsored by Lexmark, held at Bush Hall - an ornate venue better known for hosting rock concerts?
What else should you know? Perhaps that the event was conjured up in association with the English Chess Federation - an organisation sometimes maligned for not pursuing such dynamic ventures? That more events appear to be planned, according to the website? That the 2 points for a win, half for a draw scoring system might have learnt a lesson or two from football? (As with the "FA Cup Style" pairings, one supposes.) That the event is held on Saturday 19th January 2008? That there are 300 places available to players? That in the knockout stage, four "very special guest players" join the competition?
So, how do you fancy your chances?
An opportunity for Geoff Scorebook methinks.
I might give it a punt myself - although I've never played anything like that kind of time control.
The more I think about it though, the more I wonder. There are only four prizes by the looks of it - & four special guests... Do untitled players really stand a chance of winning anything?!
No they don't. I wonder if the "very special guests" get appearance fees or if they are happy to enter for nothing (or even pay)for the opportunity to hoover up £1,000+ for a couple of hours work.
but then most people don't stand much chance of winning a prize in most of the traditional tournaments. Probably less so in this one though.
several years ago I turned up for what I thought would be a fairly ordinary blitz tournament only to find myself entering the building behind Mickey Adams
Perhaps a grading prize or two would help?
Mickey Adams regularly played weekenders with a first prize of £200-300 despite being in the World's Top 10 in the 90s. Indeed I played him twice inside a year at the Metropolitan and International Students (hard fought but losses- one I was equal after 35 moves according to him, and with black aswell! So what, still lost I hear you correctly cry). To me this demonstrates a real love of chess (and winning) as surely he could have earned more for a weekend's work- I heard he once turned down £70 an hour for chess tuition for a promising IM. I think he also played for Hampstead in the London League. He had an important candidates match coming up and I asked him at the Hampstead v Streatham match (he played Tim Upton), if he was doing any particular preparation. He replied "yes, I'm playing in this match!"
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